She feels calm on the stairway today, her steps filled with peace, and the comfortable feeling that she will be happy with what she finds; a deep understanding that all she discovers will be as it is meant to be. There is an aura of acceptance about her, a soft contentment with all that she is, springing from the knowledge that it is time to release that which has fulfilled its purpose. She feels that she is standing at the tipping point, the balance between the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next; all things are contained here, and within this gamut of experience lies the seed and that after the flood, she will find the beginning again. Carrying a heart awash with love, she reaches the portal and crosses into a new landscape to find that her bare toes are embedded in the tufts of a deep wool carpet.
A multitude of colours spread themselves beneath her feet; rich red, apricot, gold and amber, riot through a vast woven story, a carpet emblazoned with images from the Tree of Life. There are other patterns too, clustered around the edges, star maps, constellations and astrological figures, emblems worked in darker colours of navy and charcoal, with here and there a fleck of silver and the glint of precious gold. Looking around, she sees that she is in a tent, the roof hung with drapes of coloured silk, and an opening at the far end. She heads towards the doorway, eager to find what lies beyond this magical carpeted place, and finds herself walking into the perfect stillness of a desert dawn; the air is washed with the scent of rosewater and the essence of forever hangs in the fragile early light. The sudden emptiness of the desert is quite startling after the womb-like softness of the tent, and her feet are now standing in the cold sand, the grains sliding between her toes; she has the sudden desire to bury them and dig in, to play like a child at the beach.
Needing to gain a wider view of this place, she decides to walk up to the top of the nearest dune; it is not far, and it doesn’t take her long to get to the top. When she arrives, she sees that she is looking down on a small group of Bedouin tents, made of animal skins and woven cloth and bound down with ropes. Coughing camels are tethered a short way from the camp and dogs lurk on the edges, seeking their portion of what remains. It is early, and the shrouded women move around the fires, huddled against the chill of the dawn air. The beautiful tent, the one with the carpet, is one of several in the small camp that sits alone in the endless landscape; it is cool in the early light, the sun is not yet over the horizon and the burning heat of the day is just a suggestion.
As she looks down at the encampment, she sees a man beginning to climb the hill after her, and as he draws closer, she sees by his kind face and familiar smile, that he is her father, and she also realises, for the first time, that she is a boy, of about 14 or 15 years of age. Her father sits down next to her, he is in charge of the camp and he has come to take his bearings for the next move. She asks him how he knows where to go next, what the plan is, how he knows when it is time to move. He looks at her with love, and tells her how he watches for the signs, the flight of the birds, the habits of the animals, the vagaries of the weather, he tells her that it is a language that she can learn, and if she learns it well, that it will guide her through any difficulty or danger that she may encounter, if only she can listen to the signs.
Her questions answered, they walk back down to the camp, and she returns to her tent, laying down on the beautiful carpet. Listening to the tapestry of sounds that embroider the breaking day, she hears her baby sister crying for some attention, then gurgling with pleasure as someone finds her and picks her up. She can hear her mother and her aunts, their low murmurs indecipherable as they move about, their heads cloth wrapped, preparing breakfast, boiling water for tea and frying bread over the low fire. She hears the camels snorting, shifting and grunting against the hobbles, and her dog, playing with one of the puppies in the sand beyond the circle. The sweet tang of peppermint tea, charcoal and the mystery of frankincense, the singe of frying butter and hot bread; they all wash over her, the smells of security, of comfort, of happiness; the smells of home. She inhales them all, these scents of peace and contentment, the fears of childhood behind her and the burdens of adulthood unknown. She is full, she is complete, poised at perfection and lying on a soft wool carpet; the day, the move, the journey, her life, all are unknown, but the knowing is unimportant; at this moment, all that is important is this feeling, this happiness, this essence of forever.
Water 10 often brings bittersweet emotions, along with the knowledge that your cup can be no fuller than it already is. The message is to enjoy that feeling of fullness, as the wheel must soon turn, and the next phase will begin before too long. Enjoy the present moment with all that it offers, remembering that even after this time has passed, that the memories will endure in the hearts of those who know the story.
The 10 of Cups
Mars in Pisces
Lord of Perfected Happiness
Joanna Grant is an astrologer of some 30 years and was awarded the Diploma at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in 2012. Weaving her knowledge of the stars together with intuitive tarot techniques, she crafts highly personalised guidance for clients who are often navigating difficult life transitions. She has lately been very excited to breathe new life into her astrological practice through her study of Horary.
Joanna holds the STA’s Practitioners Level Certification in Horary and is currently completing the STA’s Advanced Level Horary Diploma. You can read more about her here.